CRT Chairman Brad Anderson, Former CEO of Best Buy, Comments on Leadership

Recently, in our new offices, our Chairman, Brad Anderson, spoke briefly on leadership. You can hear his take on what each and all of us can do to lead at this time above or on our YouTube Channel here.

Brad, a former CEO of Best Buy and member of many corporate boards, thinks of leadership as deeply personal – personal to us and personal to those we lead.

The moral work of a leader is to give others a sense of significance in their work, no matter what their salary or title, social status or scope of authority. At this time, leadership, understood in this way, has a sacred quality – we must each step up to leadership.

I would be very interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Podcast with John Little, Ethicist with Remarkable Insight

Our podcast discussion with John Little of Melbourne, Australia, can be seen above.

John started an ethics center in Australia. He grounds his approach on insight and discernment, as recommended by the noted Jesuit thinker, Bernard Lonergan. He further thinks about how our work and lives could be more fulfilling if we more intentionally seek those ends or goods which seem under conditions of natural law most appropriate for our human species.

John first introduced me to the thoughts of Lonergan and I have been grateful to him ever since. Reflecting, having confidence in our capacity for insight, intuition and cultivating sensitivity to flow, empower our minds and spirits with self-confidence and brace them against the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” with a sort of humble courage.

I think you will find John’s comments very helpful to you at this time.

Insights from Herman Mulder of the Impact Institute

I am very pleased to inform you that our podcast discussion with Herman Mulder of The Netherlands is now available and can be viewed above.

Herman is one of the most experienced and astute leaders in the CSR/Sustainability evolution of capitalism, now with the Impact Institute in Amsterdam, a best practice leader in measuring the impacts of enterprises.

He is most notable for the initiation of the Equator Principles. He is currently a Chairman of the True Price Foundation, member of the board of the Dutch National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for MNE’s and former Chairman of the Global Reporting Initiative. He was also a Senior Executive Vice-President at ABN AMRO.

Mr. Mulder played a key role in the creation of NFX, a coordinated platform between the Dutch government and Dutch financial sector focused on finance for development. Herman was Senior Advisor to the U.N. Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He is an Ambassador of the International Integrated Reporting Council and Advisor to the Natural Capital Coalition.

In November 2005, he received a Knighthood of the Order of Oranje-Nassau as a recognition for his active role in the development of the sustainability topics and Dutch economy, after which he was promoted to be an officer in the same order in October 2017 for his work as Chairman of the Sustainable Development Goals – Dutch Charter Coalition.

The Caux Round Table is lucky to benefit from his experience and wisdom.

Podcast with Mexican Ambassador Francisco Suarez Davila

We have posted a podcast discussion with former Mexican Ambassador to Canada, Francisco Suarez Davila.

The video is embedded above or you can watch directly on YouTube here.

Amb. Suarez was introduced by our good friend Nicolas Mariscal of the Mexican business coordinating committee for social responsibility – Aliarse. Amb. Suarez is an economist by training and was with the Central Bank of Mexico and the IMF.

We discuss the fundamental need for trust for any social exchange in order for people to benefit from others and to feel confident about themselves. In Mexico, Amb. Suarez sadly notes the trust between government and business has collapsed, making it more worrisome to think about how Mexico can recover from the pandemic quickly and efficiently.

Amb. Suarez is not optimistic about this. He has been through many crises, but never one where health and economics were both negatively affected at the same time.

Michael Wright noted that if we close our fist to others, but expect to get something from them, we can’t receive it – our fingers are closed. To get, you must open your hand to give.

Born April 20, 1943 in Mexico City, Francisco Suárez holds a law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, King’s College.

During President Peña Nieto’s electoral campaign and until very recently, he served as Secretary General of the Colosio Foundation, the think tank of the PRI. He also held the post of Vice President of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI) (2008-2011).

He began his career at the Bank of Mexico where he became the General Manager of International Economic Affairs (1976-1980). He was an Executive Director on the Executive Board of the IMF (1972-1976); Financial Director at Nacional Financiera, Mexico’s industrial development bank (1980-1982); Undersecretary of Finance and Public Credit (1982-1988); and Director General of Banco Mexicano Somex, now Banco Santander (1988-1992).

For two periods, he served as a Federal Congressman (Député) and chaired the Finance Committee (1994-1997). Later, he was Ambassador of Mexico to the OECD (1997-2000), where he headed the Budget Committee.

Francisco Suárez’s extensive academic career includes teaching economic policy and international relations at the UNAM, Iberoamericana University and at the Colegio de México.

He has published numerous articles and co-authored several books. He has written a biweekly opinion column in the newspaper El Universal and served as both a member and Chairman of the Board of Trustees the UNAM.

With my colleagues Devry Boughner Vorwerk and Michael Wright, we discussed the impact of the pandemic on Mexico and the importance of collaboration between Mexico, the U.S and Canada, in line with the Caux Round Table Principles for Business on robust participation in international trade to make optimal contributions to wellbeing.

Podcast with Entrepreneur John Puckett

We recently had a very stimulating and insightful discussion with entrepreneur John Puckett. watch it above or you can see the podcast here.

With his wife, John started Caribou Coffee, a chain of coffee shops which were and are quite competitive with Starbucks. The Pucketts, both with MBA degrees, turned their vocations away from large firms to start their own business. As they grew, they accepted minority investors, but later found a divergence of priorities between the investors and themselves. They sold the company to start another.

Their new company is Punch Pizza here in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

John joked with us that both companies grew out of determined entrepreneurs in Naples, Italy, to overcome constraints imposed by living in a poorer part of the country. Finding Arabica coffee beans too expensive, they invented the expresso process to get quality flavor from the cheaper Robusta beans. With pizza, they invented a satisfactory food from cheap ingredients: flour, water and yeast.

What impressed me about John’s approach to capitalism was his intuitive regard for employees as an important capital asset.

Please do watch our discussion.

The Ethics of Good Government – Podcast

At this time of the most serious civil unrest in the U.S. and our experience here in Minnesota, with very hard to understand tactical judgment by police officers, setting standards for public governance deserves the highest priority.

Recently, we had a conversation with Rene Mendez, the City Manager of Gonzales, California, on his values and vision of leadership. Though only the manager of a small city, Rene’s views display the Caux Round Table’s recommendation that public office is a public trust.

Just as companies have stewardship responsibilities for stakeholders, so too do governments have stewardship or fiduciary obligations to citizens.

You may watch it above or view the podcast here.

A Remarkable Discussion with John Dalla Costa

One of my most influential guides in the work I do is John Dalla Costa, now retired in Italy. We asked John to join us for a podcast conversation on the raw ethical issues we as a global community now face in coming out of lockdown and seeking to balance the health of all, of some in particular and our need for “daily bread,” as Christian scripture puts it.

I hope you might have a moment to join the conversation vicariously and learn as I did from John.

Podcast with Ven. Anil Sakya – Are Predicaments the Norm of Life?

Our podcast this week is a conversation with Ven. Anil Sakya, the Honorary Rector of the World Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand. He and I have collaborated in writing commentaries on the first sermons of the Buddha on the Dharma and how we should live well in the reality surrounding us in every dimension, material and spiritual, as providing us with reliable guidance on achieving sustainability in our time.

Ven. Anil was born in Nepal into the Sakya Clan, the family of the Buddha. He came to Thailand where he has been a Theravada monk. He graduated with a M.Phil from Cambridge University and later with a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Brunel University in the U.K. He served as Secretary to the late Supreme Patriarch of Thailand.

Currently, he is residing at the royal monastery of Wat Bovoranives Vihara in Bangkok where he is an Assistant Abbot. He is the Honorary Rector of the World Buddhist University under the World Fellowship of Buddhists and Deputy Rector of the Mahamakut Buddhist University.

Some years ago, I found in St. Louis a little plaque with the words “All Crises Pass.” Believing that we have many crises in our life but, in the end, they do pass, I bought it and have it in my office as a reminder to “keep calm and carry on” to do our best with hope and fortitude.

Our podcast with Ven. Anil talks about resilience and living in and through crisis, whether caused by a virus or by our own wayward thoughts and emotions.

His lively wisdom and succinctly presented insights will impress and reassure you.

Sixth Podcast on COVID-19 and Our Lives

Today’s podcast is a conversation with Jean Rognetta, a colleague from France.

Jean is the Editor at Large of Forbes France and directs EuropeEntrepreneur. He is the Founder and President of the primary French think tank on the financing of independent businesses, PMEfinance and its Europe Entrepreneurs clubs. He is a former General Delegate of CroissancePlus, an entrepreneurs group in Paris. Jean started his career in journalism in 1997 with Vivendi as the Editor of the professional letters, Jour. From 2000 to 2016, he wrote for Les Echos and Capital Finance, respectively France’s leading financial daily and private equity newsletter. An early observer and analyst of the digital revolution, he has written or co-authored several books, most recently La République des Réseaux (Fayard).

Jean comments on the advantages of one country learning immediately from the successes and failures of other countries in their efforts to contain the new coronavirus. He sees the virus having reached its peak in Italy, about to reach its peak in France and then in the U.K. a week or so after that.

From his perspective, Jean sees the Anglo-Saxon cultures of the U.K. and the U.S. more aligned with social Darwinism and so more tolerant of inequality of impacts than European cultures.

I hope you will have a moment to watch and consider his reflections.

Michael Wright proposed that, after this crisis, we will need to shape the internet and its socializing to provide corridors of intellectual and emotional safety for people to encourage the flourishing of trust.

Fifth Podcast on COVID-19 and Our Lives

On today’s podcast, we hosted imam Asad Zaman, Director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Muslim American Society and imam of the Masjid At-Taqwa mosque in St. Paul, Minnesota. Imam Asad the other year told me about the covenants the Prophet Muhammad made with Christian communities to respect and protect them. As a result, we’re undertaking a study project to learn more about these covenants and their application in our time.

Our discussion today stood its ground on the conclusion that finding possibilities for betterment in adversity is stimulated by our faith conviction about who we are in relationship with others.